With future ownership of Stony Point Fashion Park on hold, the city’s Economic Development Authority has given up its real estate holdings around the Southside Mall.
On November 18, the EDA Board of Directors voted to transfer ownership of the approximately 41-acre parking lot around Stony Point Fashion Park to the current owners of the mall, EDA President John Molster confirmed. .
The deal, which involved no change of money hand, had been in the works for nearly two decades. The 2002 agreement between the city and the original developer of the mall included a clause that allowed the owner of the mall to exercise an option to own the parking lot area.
That transfer could be made as long as three separate assessments valued the parking space at less than $ 13.5 million, Molster said.
“The process was to have a total of three reviewers – one chosen by the mall owner, one by the EDA, and then a third chosen by both – to enter and rate the lot,” he said. he said, noting that the assessments had been completed. earlier this year.
If the appraisers valued the land at more than $ 13.5 million, the mall property would pay that amount to the EDA, and the EDA would then have transferred the money to the City of Richmond. But Molster said all three valuations were well below that figure and, under the terms of the contract, the EDA is transferring ownership to mall ownership at no cost.
Molster said the $ 13.5 million appraisal figure was chosen in the original contract because it represents the city’s investment in infrastructure around the property leading to the development of Stony Point.
“I think if you look at it, the city did very well on their investment that they made in establishing the mall in 2002,” Molster said. “If you look at the property tax collection, the property tax collection and (and) the sales tax collection that the city did at the mall, that was a welcome comeback for the city.”
While the city owned the 41 acres before the transfer, ownership of the mall paid for upkeep and upkeep.
The transfer of ownership has yet to be recorded with the city’s online records, but Molster said he believes it will be soon.
Taubman Centers was the original developer of the mall and opened Stony Point in 2003, the same year Short Pump Town Center opened in Henrico. Florida-based Starwood Capital Group bought Stony Point for $ 72 million in 2014. But in January 2020, Starwood fell behind on loan repayments and defaulted. This led to the hiring of a special duty agent by the ticket holder to take over the mall and oversee its operations.
The parking lot transfer comes as the mall and its 62-acre site are put up for sale as a potential redevelopment opportunity. Now that the Special Maintenance Officer owns both the mall and the parking lot, the redevelopment can take place.
“It’s up to the owner of the mall to decide what happens next. We would encourage maximum use of the property, but that’s up to them, ”said Molster.
The city’s new Richmond 300 master plan includes a re-examination of Stony Point, suggesting possible green space and nearby parkland along Chippenham Parkway and mixed-use residential buildings surrounding the mall, all connected by footpaths and trails. green ways.
With an occupancy rate hovering between 60 and 70 percent, the 687,000 square foot mall has seen a lot of churn in recent years, welcoming new tenants like Edible Education and Stumpy’s Hatchet House, while chains like Banana Republic and Sur La Table have released.